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Mrs. Sinclair's Suitcase [Hardcover]

Louise Walters
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (55 customer reviews)
RRP: 14.99
Price: 10.34 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

27 Feb 2014

Forgive me, Dorothea, for I cannot forgive you. What you do, to this child, to this child's mother, it is wrong...

Roberta likes to collect the letters and postcards she finds in second-hand books. When her father gives her some of her grandmother's belongings, she finds a baffling letter from the grandfather she never knew - dated after he supposedly died in the war.

Dorothy is unhappily married to Albert, who is away at war. When an aeroplane crashes in the field behind her house she meets Squadron Leader Jan Pietrykowski, and as their bond deepens she dares to hope she might find happiness. But fate has other plans for them both, and soon she is hiding a secret so momentous that its shockwaves will touch her granddaughter many years later...

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton (27 Feb 2014)
  • Language: Unknown
  • ISBN-10: 1444777424
  • ISBN-13: 978-1444777420
  • Product Dimensions: 23.6 x 16 x 3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (55 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 26,086 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

I'm so excited to be publishing my debut novel Mrs Sinclair's Suitcase in 2014. The hardback was released on 27 February, and the paperback will be out on 14 August. It will also be published in the USA by Amy Einhorn Books in 2015. I'm really enjoying reading all the reviews here and elsewhere, and of course I'm still pinching myself, as getting a novel published was one of my dreams. Thank you.

Product Description


A first novel of great charm and assurance, beautifully told and utterly gripping (The Times)

A heart-breaking tale of loss, missed chances and enduring love. (Good Housekeeping)

Totally absorbing . . . Beautifully done and heartbreaking too. (Esther Freud, author of Hideous Kinky)

[a] charming debut... as appealing on the inside as its enticing jacket. (Daily Mail)

Book Description

A heartbreaking debut novel about family secrets, soulmates and missed opportunities.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
23 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Mrs Sinclair's Suitcase 5 Jan 2014
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Roberta works in a book shop which sells both second hand and new books. She loves going through the second hand books for the things people have left in as bookmarks - children's drawings, shopping lists, letters, train tickets etc. She likes to imagine the people they belonged to.

Her father takes her a suitcase which belonged to his mother - now aged over one hundred and in a nursing home. Tucked into one of the books in the suitcase is a letter which will overturn everything Roberta knows about her grandmother.

I enjoyed this book and thought it was well written. I liked the intermingling of the two stories - that of Dorothea trying to make a life for herself during World War II and Roberta in the twenty first century trying to make sense of her own life. The author really brought the characters to life and I thought the love affairs were painted with a delicate hand and not overdone.

If you enjoy books which weave together past and present then try this one - it is subtle and understated and a very satisfying read. I look forward to reading more by this author.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Thoroughly enjoyable 8 April 2014
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I really enjoyed this novel. It's well written, well plotted and has believeable (well rounded) characters. The two stories work well and link together the present and past in a satisfying manner. I must confess I was drawn to read it by the cover (something I'm prone to at times but then all things literature are emotive anyway) but once I had read a few pages I was captivated. If you read one book this year then make sure it's this one. Highly recommended.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A tender, touching tale of love and loss 26 Jan 2014
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
'The Old and New Bookshop' is where Roberta works, and she likes nothing better than flipping through the second hand books that come into the shop, hoping to find a long forgotten letter or postcard. She is basically a lonely young person and likes to imagine what the writer and recipient of this 'trivia' were like and what stories they might have to tell. When her father gives her some of her grandmother's treasured possessions she is fascinated to find out what they contain. She is puzzled to find a letter from the grandfather she never met, dated after he was supposed to have been killed during the war. In her determination to find out the truth the story shifts from past to present and back again a number of times. Dorothy (Dorothea), her grandmother is the Mrs Sinclair of the story. Dorothy's marriage to Albert is an unhappy one, and when he goes off to war she feels a great burden lifted from her. One day an aeroplane crash lands in the field behind her cottage. The crew were Polish and when Squadron Leader Jan Pietrykowski comes to visit her to thank her for vainly trying to help the crew she feels she would like to get to know him better and it seems the feeling is mutual. There follows a series of events which hold a secret so great in its enormity that its repercussions will have a profound effect on Roberta many years later. This is a story of heartbreak, and chances missed, and one I thoroughly enjoyed reading. Just one minor point I think the author may have made a mistake setting this story in 2010 with wartime flashbacks as Mrs Sinclair would have been 110 years old by then - stretching credibility a little I feel.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Just a letter found in a suitcase...... 14 Feb 2014
By Both the Macs VINE VOICE
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
And that letter falls into the hands of the writer's grandaughter - she only knows this because they have the same (rare) name, and that can't be a co-incidence - even though the label on the old suitcase her father gives her to store things in says Mrs Sinclair. And certainly, the suitcase was her grandmother's.

The paragraphs do jump back and forward in time: the current time describes Roberta, the finder of the letter, who works in a second-hand bookshop and loves to collect the letters, notes, photographs and ephemoria left behind in those books and, in 1940/41, Dorothea who is in love with a Polish WW2 pilot despite being married. Yes, in case you didn't know, many Polish pilots helped the RAF out in WW2.

This is one of those novels that was deceptively easy to read. A little mystery because of a found letter is the story in a nutshell, but there is so much more to it than that. I found myself going back several times to re-read that found letter, which is what starts the book off. The letter is full of love and also bitterness and it offers a clue to something the reader will not know of until around two thirds of the way through. The pain of love, the ache of stillborn children, the way that love could change your life if you let it may lead one to think this is a light and frothy read - but it is not. It will stay with me for a long time - I loved it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Likeable characters with a variety of secrets encourage the reader to read more. Clever but gentle twists albeit leading to a predictable ending; a pleasure to read.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A sensitive story. 21 April 2014
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
An intriguing letter grabs your attention and draws you in. A sensual story of love, loss and how a lack of understadning and the written word can change everything. I don't want to spoil the book for other readers, other than to say it is a story you will remember long after closing the book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
This is Louise Walters debut novel.

The story is told over a dual timeline. We are introduced to present day Roberta who is given a suitcase containing books and letters belonging to her grandmother. We are then taken back in time to Word War Two and the life of Dorothea, Roberta's Grandmother "Babunia".

The story begins with a letter to Dorothea from her beloved Jan. We gradually learn the history leading up to why this particular letter was written. This is the letter that Roberta finds on opening her Grandmother's suitcase which poses some big questions about Dorothy's past.

As stated above the story is told in dual narrative and in this case it works well. I liked the lyrical writing and the story unfolded beautifully. All the characters were well rounded and drew me into their world. A story of love, loss, tragedy and friendship, even from the most unexpected corner. A great debut novel. I look forward to Ms Walters next book.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars GOOD,SENSITIVE DEBUT NOVEL.
A good story about a lady who works in a bookshop and ponders about her granny's past life set during the second war. Read more
Published 1 day ago by Lucinda
4.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable Read
Unusual plot line, unusual characters. Thoroughly enjoyed this book as it is not my usual type of fiction, I normally choose crime, but was draw to the title together with the... Read more
Published 10 days ago by Janet Lynch
5.0 out of 5 stars A more intelligent chick-lit novel.
I found that this story gripped me increasingly as it progressed. It looks compassionately at the compromises which we have to settle for in our real lives, but the style never... Read more
Published 10 days ago by Stella Arden
3.0 out of 5 stars A pleasant, absorbing read, but nothing out of the ordinary
I find things hidden in books: dried flowers, locks of hair, tickets, labels, receipt, invoices, photographs, postcards, all manner of cards. Read more
Published 17 days ago by Book Critic
3.0 out of 5 stars Pleasant ,easy read
As other people have said,too much was given away too quickly so I knew what to expect and there was no mystery or suspense. Read more
Published 17 days ago by Mrs. J. Haines
5.0 out of 5 stars A case of family secrets
I really enjoyed this novel and read it through almost in one sitting. I enjoyed the modern-day story of Roberta who works in a second-hand bookstore and particularly liked that... Read more
Published 18 days ago by Kathryn Eastman
5.0 out of 5 stars Superbly written & a compulsive read
This is a truly remarkable book that spans two timelines and unfolds events & secrets in its passage that keeps the reader gripped. Read more
Published 20 days ago by LULU
4.0 out of 5 stars one letter opens the lives of two women from different times in...
Mrs Sinclair's Suitcase written by Louise Walters for me was a good read which brought me into the lives of two relatives though in different times of history. Read more
Published 21 days ago by Petra "I love to read"
5.0 out of 5 stars Lives in the memory
This dual-narrative novel follows present-day Roberta - who works in a bookshop and finds letters and cards inside the old books – and 1940s Dorothy who meets a Polish pilot during... Read more
Published 26 days ago by Spongebob
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